On a gorgeous September Saturday, about 400 people gathered on the grounds of Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., for a free meal, praise concert, pony rides, carnival games, face painting, bake walk, and bounce-house obstacle courses.
Rev. Rick Pinckney said the church held the event specifically for community. “We figured that in these troubled economic times families would be blessed by an afternoon of free fun and food,” he said. Indeed, the fun and pulled-pork meal drew at least 365 people.
Sandy VanTimmeren paints faces at the second annual Beckwith Hills Family Fall Fun Festival.
Noah J.K. Kruis
This was the second year the church hosted the festival, both planned by Beckwith Hills member Bridgette Koll. Pony rides were so popular last year that this year Koll’s friend brought three horses instead of one to meet the demand.
Music throughout the event was provided by Spirit Shine, who followed the event with an evening concert.
Several families who participated this year had attended the event last year. And both years the festival generated new interest among neighbors in the church’s GEMS and Cadets programs (weekly programs for girls and boys).
Attendees included members from other churches who asked Koll about how to host similar events for their communities.